The Current Situation of Internet Development and Existing Diversification Problems
The advent of the web 2.0 era has opened the eyes of Internet participants to the possibilities created by the Internet, and as people increasingly access media content through social platforms and apps, these digital media platforms are becoming increasingly global in significance (Flew et al., 2019). Internet agencies operate globally, with online actors spanning all cultures and regions. This development has led to a focus on managing the gaps and characteristics of different cultures, that is the diversity in the development of the Internet (Böhnisch, 2021).
While media platforms allow more intersecting individuals of different identities to directly participate and communicate, the platform’s management model that is harmful to certain communities, vague platform policies, and partial arbitrariness in enforcement rules all demonstrate the consequences of a lack of diversity(Matamoros, 2017). Therefore, the public is increasingly expecting platforms, whether dealing with issues such as racial and gender hatred, most Internet users expect online communities to monitor themselves or cooperate with the government to achieve a diverse Internet (Gillespie, 2019).
This essay will argue that lack of diversity profoundly affects the development of the Internet and how it harms society and individuals by considering a number of issues which includes:
- Racism produces deepening racial discrimination
- Platform maintenance tendencies under gender inequity
- Economic and market supervision problems
Lack of Racial Diversity Deepens Racist Paradox
The policy formulation of Internet institutions and platforms has ageing and vague regulations, which are not applicable to the existing multi-racial inclusive society. The lack of racial diversity will seriously damage the group-inclusive environment on the Internet and deepen the prevalence of racial discrimination and racism.
- The Two Sides of Social Platforms
Internet platforms can both express racism and foster socialization and creativity (Matamoros, 2017). For instance, When racism is amplified, those who discriminate against others can unite to engage in more severe discrimination. Groups who are also discriminated against can also use social networking platforms to establish communication methods to seek comfort and help. Individual behaviours are united through the Internet, and through group behaviours, they have a distinct impact on society.
- Internet Platform Policy Issues
Platform racism is a product of liberal ideology and has been developing since the birth of the Internet. It turns platforms into tools for amplifying racism and proposes some discriminatory management models, and the management of inappropriate speech is vague(Matamoros, 2017). For example, after a black man was shot by the police due to racial discrimination, both discriminatory remarks and pro-equality remarks were spread on the Internet and sparked discussions, including excessive hate speech and inflammatory speech. But the liberal management of the platform is traffic-oriented and allowed to grow, amplifying racism.
The Internet platform is a double-edged sword for the participation of diverse races. It can not only obtain identity and group comfort, but also aggravate the union of discriminatory behaviours. The lack of racial diversity amplifies the racism of Internet participants, cultural exclusion, and intensification of social conflicts, making it difficult to achieve multicultural development. Conservative and ancient white supremacy has been unable to adapt to the development of the times, and the Internet which cannot achieve pluralistic reform will become an outdated product.
Patriarchal Internet Agency and Platform Policies Lacking Gender Diversity
The development of the Internet is facing a great challenge, that is, gender inequality. The content of supervision in the liberal Internet world dominated by Silicon Valley is more inclined to the patriarchal society. The unfairness that women feel in participating in Internet development activities may lead to the emergence of extreme egalitarian online behaviour.
- Tech company women’s employment
Computers were invented by women, but because of the existence of Silicon Valley, all the credit for Internet culture is given to male images. This kind of distorted liberalism dominated by male groups can only guarantee the Internet freedom of some groups.
- Women-unfriendly platform culture and regulatory approaches
The Internet platform has a chain of responsibility in content moderation, but it conducts content supervision in a temporary way and will not be fully responsible for network order (Gillespie, 2017). The existing geek culture that is unfriendly to women and the online patriarchal culture that objectifies female participants as the object of discussion will both cause women to feel the persecution of their rights to participate in the online society, aggravate gender opposition, and eventually lead to the division of male and female power society (Massanari, 2017).
The liberal Internet culture and culture dominated by Silicon Valley has been in a dominant position from the past to the present, but to meet the harmonious development of the Internet, female employees are needed to join in to reduce the occurrence of gender issues and gender discrimination on the public platform. The inclusion of women may have little impact on a long-standing patriarchal culture. But at least in the general environment, we can see that the rights and interests of women have been partially guaranteed. Their participation will reduce the ambiguity of gender discrimination on the platform and enhance the protection of women’s activities in cyberspace. Therefore, to a large extent, the lack of female participation and gender diversity will make the Internet development environment unharmonious, and will lead to aggravating the polarization between men and women in society, and the persecution of women’s rights and interests.
Disruption of the Internet Economy Market Order
An economic market that lacks diversity will face a situation of dominance due to the lack of competitiveness, which will eventually lead to an unbalanced market order and achieve a monopoly of platform profits that the country wants to avoid.
- DiDi Rider – classic economic monopoly
Unhappy Chinese Didi-Uber drivers share concerns over market “monopoly” by CGTN. All rights reserved. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWC74SRSgsk
CGTN (2016) posted that ride-hailing company Didi Rider has acquired the Chinese operations of its arch-rival Uber after a long, cheaper race to win the Chinese market. However, in recent years, Didi Rider is not satisfied with the domestic online car-hailing market, which has begun to go public in the United States without approval and has launched a global online car-hailing service. In their actions, they squeezed the online car-hailing market everywhere, occupied a large number of online car-hailing customers, and developed an economic monopoly.
- For the industry market, it disrupts the market order, and upper-level institution competition will inevitably reduce the subsidy for drivers, leading to the survival problem of industry practitioners, and other platform practitioners losing job opportunities. At the same time, it hinders market invention and innovation, destroys the original diversified market with multiple platforms coexisting, and reduces the overall competitiveness of the industry.
- For consumers, Didi Rider uses large discounts to attract consumers, and through price competitiveness, after directing consumers’ choices to their own, they begin to reduce discounts or even increase prices at will. In addition, in order to avoid the recurrence of violent incidents during driving, the dd platform excessively collects users’ personal information, travel routes and call records in the name of protecting the safety, and it is difficult to guarantee personal privacy information.
Thus, economic hegemony without diversity is not conducive to the development of the industry and will also be harmful to individuals.
Conclusion & Looking Ahead
In the current stage of Internet development, the lack of diversity is deeply affecting the positive development of the Internet and hindering Internet users from equally enjoying Internet services and participating in promoting Internet development. The lack of racial diversity at the top of Internet agencies, and platforms amplifying racism undermine the harmonious environment of the Internet. The prevalence of patriarchal social culture and the lack of gender diversity undermines women’s rights to participate in the Internet, and the social division between men and women is deepening. Platform monopoly and economic hegemony hinder Internet market development and control user choice. The lack of diversity hinders the development of the Internet, and also causes a lot of inconvenience to users and brings deeper antagonism and differentiation to society.
Although at present due to the existing problems of discrimination and violence on Internet platforms, many Internet organizations have begun to realize that regulatory policies need to be improved, and high-level organizations also need to meet more diverse requirements. Whether it can meet the public’s diverse requirements for platform policy is still an issue worth discussing.
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